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Forecasters warn new Beast from the East could bring snow and freezing temperatures

PUBLISHED: 14:05 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:23 11 January 2019

The 'beast from the East' hits Attleborough with heavy snow in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 'beast from the East' hits Attleborough with heavy snow in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The same weather patterns which caused the Beast from the East last winter could return this year, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office has said sudden stratospheric warming had appeared around Christmas, when there was a sharp increase in temperatures over a couple of days.

And when this happens in the Arctic it can lead to a large amount of cold air blowing eastwards across Europe a few weeks later, bringing with it much cooler temperatures, such as was seen with the Beast from the East.

But Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said that while Britain being hit by a new Beast from the East could not be ruled out, the forecast so far suggests the country will see stable weather conditions.

“Last year there was a classic set-up with the Beast from the East, there was an event in the Arctic - sudden stratospheric warming - where the stratosphere warms rapidly,” he said.

The Beast from the East covered Lowestoft with a blanket of thick snow. Photo: Jeyan Chandra.The Beast from the East covered Lowestoft with a blanket of thick snow. Photo: Jeyan Chandra.

“That triggers, generally, a change in the direction of winds across Europe at surface level. The upshot is that normally when this happens in the Arctic you get easterly winds and that’s what happened last year.

“But although that warming has happened in the Arctic already just prior to Christmas, we are not seeing any change in an easterly pattern.”

Long range forecaster AccuWeather is currently predicting some light flurries of snow in Norwich for the end of January and more than 8cm of the white stuff at the start of February.

But a forecaster from the Norwich-based Weatherquest said there is currently no indication Norfolk and Suffolk will see snow any time soon.

Snow drifts engulf the road to Ringsfield near Beccles during the Beast from the East last year.
Picture: Nick ButcherSnow drifts engulf the road to Ringsfield near Beccles during the Beast from the East last year. Picture: Nick Butcher

“There isn’t a strong signal that there will be snow at this time,” he said. “In the latter part of the month we will see colder winds coming in and bringing with them the chance of snow, but they won’t be from the east and any cold spell will be temporary unlike the extended snap that caused the Beast from the East.

“Towards the end of the month, around January 22, the region will see colder temperatures before it gets milder again and then that pattern will likely repeat in February.”

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